The Costs and Benefits of a 700% Solar Power Increase

On the heels of President Obama’s $8.4 billion “Clean Power Plan,” policymakers have started offering more details about their energy and regulatory plan. One plan calls for a 700 percent increase in solar power, from about 20 gigawatts (GW) of projected generation by 2020, to 140 GW. This seven-fold increase in solar capacity won’t be cheap. According to American Action Forum (AAF) calculations, it will cost up to $240 billion to install this additional solar capacity by 2020. The climate benefits, always uncertain and dependent on the discount rate, vary between $6.1 billion and $18.3 billion annually.

Administration’s July 2015 “Regulatory Review” Adds $14.7 Billion in Costs

President Obama signed executive orders (13,563 and 13,610) as part of an effort to “eliminate red tape.” Federal agencies were told to “modify, streamline expand, or repeal” existing regulations. The recent “retrospective reports” from the administration reveal that executive agencies have added more than $14.7 billion in regulatory costs and 13.4 million paperwork hours. Too often for this administration, regulations are regularly expanded and rarely repealed or modified.

What will EPA’s Toxic Animas River Spill Cost?

On August 5, EPA officials working along the Animas River caused the release of more than three million gallons of toxic wastewater, including the neurotoxins lead and arsenic. There has already been a tremendous environmental impact in three states. But what will it cost? If we were to trust past agency estimates: between $338 million and $27.7 billion. There is no direct precedent for the toxic Animas River spill in Colorado and past regulatory actions from agencies, but we can learn from previous benefit-cost estimates. The American Action Forum (AAF) evaluated four recent regulations’ benefit figures to approximate the cost of the current spill in the Mountain West.

August: The Dog Days of Regulation?

Last week, Congress left town for its traditional, month-long August Recess. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of its burdensome “Clear Power Plan,” and the Securities and Exchange Commission finalized its less-covered, yet still consequential, “Pay Ratio Disclosure” rule. Is there any cause for concern that, while Congress is away, the agencies will play? Certain data trends seem to suggest “yes.”

EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulation Expects Coal Generation to Decline 48 Percent

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for existing power plants. According to American Action Forum (AAF) research, the final plan will shutter 66 power plants and eliminate 125,800 jobs in the coal industry. All of these figures are based on EPA data. Perhaps more alarming, using the 2012 baseline for coal generation and projections for 2030 output, the industry could shrink by 48 percent.

DOL’s Proposed Fiduciary Rule: Not in the Best Interest of Investors

• If the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed fiduciary rule is implemented, almost all retail investors will see their costs increase by 73-196 percent due to a mass shift toward fee-based accounts. • Firms providing investment advice will see an average of $21.5 million in initial compliance costs and $5.1 million in annual maintenance costs. • Up to 7 million current Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) would fail to qualify for an advisory account due to the balance being too low to be profitable for the adviser.

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